Malaria in Victoria Falls is on the Decline
By Marianne Betts
The cases of malaria in the Victoria Falls area are falling, following a raft of measures introduced by the Zimbabwean government, and District medical officer for Hwange Dr Wisdom Kurauone believes the tourist town may soon be free of the disease.
Dr Kurauone says: “We have made a lot of strides and we will hopefully have Victoria Falls malaria free in the near future.”
Last year there were just 27 cases of malaria in the Victoria Falls area, and there have been 15 so far this year, and Dr Kurauone says in most of these cases the malaria was picked up elsewhere.
“It is usually locals who have gone outside of Victoria Falls – some may have gone to Binga or Zambia – and they become symptomatic when they return,” he says.
Although, Dr Kurauone cautions, a small number of people do still contract malaria in Victoria Falls.
A decade ago, he says, there was triple the number of cases of malaria in Victoria Falls as compared to today.
It was at this time that the Zimbabwean Government stepped in with a multi-pronged approach to tackle the disease.
It introduced the spraying of homes to kill mosquitoes, the distribution of mosquito nets, as well as educating the community on malaria prevention.
All of this is free, as it is a Government program, and in addition, treatment for malaria is also free, he says.
There have been no deaths from the mosquito-borne disease in Victoria Falls in the past two years, Dr Kurauone adds. “We have mosquitoes, but they mostly don’t carry malaria, they just cause problems, like biting, and we call them “nonsense” mosquitoes, he says.
However, as malaria has not yet been eradicated, Dr Kurauone advises visitors to Victoria Falls to continue to take prophylactics.
Despite the main “malaria” months being August to February, prophylactics should be taken throughout the year, as there is the odd case of malaria during the other months too, he says.